The top US diplomat on Iran highlighted CNN’s information. sexual assault investigation it exposed sexual assaults against male and female activists, calling the messages “untold”.
Robert Malley, the US special envoy for Iran, said the regime would fail to quell the protests that have swept the country over the past two months.
“This report describes untold acts of sexual violence by Iranian officials in detention centers,” U.S. Special Envoy to Iran Robert Mulley wrote on Thursday. tweet about the CNN investigation. “This is a reminder of what is at stake for the Iranian people and the lengths the regime will go to in its futile attempt to silence dissent.”
Iran rocked by anti-government protests death in September Mahse Amini, 22, who was detained by the national vice police, apparently for not wearing the hijab properly.
In a CNN investigation released on Monday, undercover testimony revealed sexual abuse of protesters, including boys, in Iranian detention centers since the riots began.
CNN traveled to a region near Iraq’s border with Iran, interviewing eyewitnesses who had fled the country, and verified survivors’ testimonies and sources both inside and outside Iran. CNN confirmed several reports of sexual violence against protesters and heard stories of many more.
At least one of them resulted in serious injuries and the other involved the rape of an underage boy. In some cases disclosed by CNN, the sexual assault was filmed and used to blackmail protesters into silence, according to sources who spoke to the victims.
Mulley led the US negotiating team for nearly two years to reopen the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that pulled out former President Donald Trump. As part of the deal, Iran will suspend its uranium enrichment program in exchange for sanctions relief.
Iran’s brutal crackdown on protests brought the talks to a halt. In October, Malley said the US was not going to “waste time” on a nuclear deal “if nothing happens.”
He said the US remains committed to diplomacy to contain Iran’s nuclear program, but has been distracted from nuclear deal efforts amid mass protests in Iran and the transfer of weapons from Tehran to Moscow for the war in Ukraine.
The special envoy’s comments reflected how stagnant the talks to restore the nuclear deal had become, talks that just a few months ago the US and its allies thought had reached a breakthrough. The International Atomic Energy Agency said on Tuesday that Iran has enriched up to 60% its underground nuclear facility Fordow.
More than 40 people have died in the past week, including at least two children, as Iran was shaken by the protests, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The country’s Kurdish regions have taken the brunt of the crackdown, with social media videos showing a major deployment of Iranian military forces in the Kurdish cities of Javanrud and Saqqez. The video also shows security forces firing live fire at unarmed demonstrators.
UN human rights chief Volker Türk said the rising death toll was indicative of the regime’s intensifying crackdown on protesters and the “critical situation in the country.” More than 300 people have died since the protests began in mid-September, according to the UN.
More than 40 children have been killed since the protests began in September, including two 16-year-old boys who died over the weekend, according to the UNHRC. The statement also refers to the repression of high-ranking Iranians, including celebrities and athletes.
On Sunday, Iranian actresses Hengameh Ghaziani and Katayoun Riahi were arrested for showing support for the protest movement online.
In another sign of growing discontent in Iran, the national football team did not sing the national anthem at the start of the World Cup match against England on Monday.
The UN agency reminded the Iranian authorities of their obligation under international human rights law to “respect and ensure the rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.”
“We call on the authorities to release all those detained in connection with the exercise of their rights, including the right to peaceful assembly, and drop the charges against them,” the HCHR said in a statement.
More than 14,000 people have been arrested in connection with the protests, according to the UN. At least six of them were sentenced to death.